Stress Overview

Stress Overview


Once you have all of your sounds categorized in your head, knowing where to put the stress in each word is all you need to correctly pronounce any word in the dictionary. There are only 4 categories of stress in Spanish, two of which count for almost 90% of all Spanish words, so you´re safe if you can only remember the first two. And you don´t have to know what the categories are named, it´s just useful information.

  1. Aguda - Words that end in a consonant other than 'n' or 's' should be stressed on the last syllable. About 1/3 of all Spanish words are agudas, including all infinitives.

azul, avestruz, matador, hablar

  1. Grave (Llana) - Words that end in a vowel, 'n', or 's' should be stressed on the penultimate (second to last) syllable. Over half of all Spanish words are graves.

mono, ave, cantan, computadoras

  1. Esdrújula - Words whose accent falls on the third to last syllable. These always have a tilde.

pido, jaro, Arica, clásico

  1. Sobresdrújula - Words whose accent falls on the fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. to last syllable. The only words with this stress are verbs with one or two pronouns attached to them. These words always have a tilde.

ramelo, préstaselo, enñenoslo, devuélvemelo

Note: words ending in -mente have two stresses (one in the adjective, and another in -mente), and they only have a tilde if the preceding adjective has a tilde on its own, so they are not technically regarded as sobreesdrújulas (otherwise they would always have a tilde).

cil ? cilmente, pido ? pidamente, lento ? lentamente, torpe ? torpemente


1) Write out the following words and circle the stress in each word and categorize each word as Aguda, Grave, Esdrújula, or Sobresdrújula.

  1. calle
  2. color
  3. avión
  4. rápido
  5. lección
  6. americanos
  7. hablan
  8. feliz
  9. fácilmente
  10. árbol

2) The stressed syllable in each word is in bold. Write out each word and put an accent in the words that need it.


Classify each word first, then see if it violates its rules. If it does, it needs an accent.

  1. papa
  2. pajaro
  3. segun
  4. raton
  5. mujer
  6. animal
  7. platos
  8. hipopotamo
  9. joven
  10. antiguo
  11. pelicula
  12. arbol
  13. papa
  14. pescado
  15. azucar
  16. credito
  17. esta
  18. esta
  19. termino
  20. director


Part 1

  1. calle - grave
  2. color - aguda
  3. avión - aguda
  4. pido - esdrújula
  5. lección - aguda
  6. americanos - grave
  7. hablan - grave
  8. feliz - aguda
  9. cilmente - sobresdrújula
  10. árbol - grave

Part 2

  1. papá
  2. pájaro
  3. según
  4. ratón
  5. mujer
  6. animal
  7. platos
  8. hipopótamo
  9. joven
  10. antiguo
  11. película
  12. árbol
  13. papa
  14. pescado
  15. azúcar
  16. crédito
  17. está
  18. esta
  19. término
  20. director
updated MAY 14, 2013
edited by martha-sd
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